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Money, Lies, and the Art of Advertising

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If you haven’t heard yet, Google won USA Today’s first print advertising contest with this ad:

print advertisement
Google’s Print Advertisement – Source: USA Today

When the announcement was made, I received a number of emails from my Insiders and coaching clients asking me for my opinion.

Well, here it is (and Google’s not going to like it).

But before I get into pissing off the mega-corporation, let me start with telling you what I do like about their ad.

It does capture the reader’s attention, and the handwriting compels you to read the advertisement.

So… they got a few things right.

But it stops there.

Now let’s get down to the brass tacks, shall we?

When you advertise online using Google Adwords, Google built the platform so you could know how your ads are doing with detailed reporting and analytics to split test headlines, keywords, calls to action, etc.

You keep the ones that are working and delete the ones that fail.

Smart advice.

So why don’t they eat their own pudding when it comes to their print ads?

I could rip them apart on having no call to action, no compelling reason for me to act now, and not targeting their advertisement to a particular user, letting them know how/why it benefits them…

But no matter what I say, the biggest problem with the ad is that no one will ever know if this advertisement is successful.

It’s like sending a Goodyear Blimp above the baseball game… yea, it’s cool to see, but does it actually grow sales?

Who knows?!

As W. Edwards Demming says:

“In God we trust, all others bring data.”

Brand advertising agencies will sell you on the idea that it does work. But how do they really know?

You see, there’s no tracking mechanism (such as a unique promo code, web address, offer, or phone number) built into the advertisement (and if there was one, most of them would probably be out of a job!).

With no way to track it, there’s no way to know what’s working or what’s not.

But hey, as much fun as it’s been telling these Google execs how they missed the mark – it’s something you see everyday in print, TV, radio, online – you name it.

If you want to improve, track all of your efforts.

“Measurement is the first step that leads to control and eventually to improvement. If you can’t measure something, you can’t understand it. If you can’t understand it, you can’t control it. If you can’t control it, you can’t improve it.”?- H. James Harrington

And this is how small business owners, like you, can get a significant edge over the competition – both big and small competitors… by finding out what’s working, how to make it better, and using this information to make as much money as possible!

You work hard for your money, and don’t deserve to spend a dime on anything that isn’t going to bring you results.

It’s about being smart.

It’s about being strategic.

It’s about getting results.

In your corner,


what now?

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